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Survival Horror game : 1 player : PS2 Memory Card : Analogue Dual Shock : SCEE / Deep Space

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Result :                  6 -  Scares followed by slaughter.

Graphics:           7 - Patchy, some good, some...
FMV :                4 - Shocking acting
Sound :              4 - Music too loud, non adjustable
Music :               3 - see above
A.I. :                 6 - They tried hard
Lifespan :          4 - Shortish
Gameplay :        6 - Jumpy
Adrenaline :    3-8 - as above

Extermination is (I think) the first survival horror game in the UK for the PS2.   You play as Dennis Riley, a sergeant in the USA RECON Marines.  Blah, blah, expert shot, blah, hard bastard, he's your typical grunt who fortunately doesn't seemed to get fazed by anything.  The gist of the story is that an American base in the Antarctic was doing biological research (I'll just point out the the Antarctic is NOT USA territory, and therefore shouldn't in reality be doing this sort of stuff), when the regular radio transmissions fail, the troops get sent in, but the plane develops a problem and the Recon members jump out but get dispersed.  You have to link up with your other team mates, and also find out what's wrong with the base.  As usual there is an infestation of mutants to kill, puzzles to solve and items to collect.  You only get two weapons in the game a knife, and an upgradable gun.  his is quite fun as you can make your assault rifle into your own style of play.  This does effectively give you more weapons, but as it's quite simple to change bits, it makes the experience feel better.  I preferred 3-round bursts with the zoom scope, and the flame-thrower for my main secondary fire.

The graphics are by far the most outstanding thing about this title.  The animations Dennis does (turning, holding his had up to see through snow storms etc) are very well done, and the environments are very realistic looking.  There is a little fogging, and using first person mode with a sniper scope is often disappointing as the detail doesn't resolve itself at all well.  Having slagged it off, I now must say these are minor quibbles, and it really does look wonderful, it's smooth, has loads of nice environmental touches, and gives a real sense of being in the cold in Antarctic.

The audio isn't so good.  In fact the voice acting is pretty shocking at times, and the fact that the music is non-adjustable and is mostly too loud in the cut-scenes makes them a pretty dire prospect.  The background music has set tracks for the various areas, and a rather short loop, so you might get pumped up action music even though you know you have killed everything on this particular set of rooms.  Guns sound good, but again seem too soft for the BGM.

The game plays quite well, the other two notable features are the excellent menu system, and the rethought controls.  The Resident Evil series suffered from these and playing with menus was real tedious, and your characters never felt really in control at all times.  Enemy AI is funny, some feels quite realistic, the little things form packs, but if too many die they run.  At other times however you can just snipe away and the monsters don't seem to bother trying to track you down.  Puzzles are generally simple, but this was billed as more action than adventure.

Overall it's a great game to rent.  Fun, a little scary, but not really involving enough, just think of it as a "B" class movie, which is probably the score it deserves.

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